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Flowers for Algernon | Study Guide

Daniel Keyes

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Course Hero. "Flowers for Algernon Study Guide." May 24, 2017. Accessed December 18, 2017. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Flowers-for-Algernon/.


Course Hero, "Flowers for Algernon Study Guide," May 24, 2017, accessed December 18, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Flowers-for-Algernon/.


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Daniel Keyes

Year Published





Science Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

Flowers for Algernon is narrated in the first person in the form of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon. The first-person narration is essential to the text, allowing readers to experience the fluctuations in Charlie's intelligence, as well as his thoughts and feelings about those changes, as the story progresses.


Flowers for Algernon uses a mix of present and past tenses, as the narrator describes his current thoughts and actions as well as memories from his childhood and delusions in which he interacts with his prior self.

About the Title

Flowers for Algernon refers to the final line of the novel, in which the narrator, Charlie Gordon, requests that flowers be placed on the grave of Algernon, the laboratory mouse who had the same brain surgery and resulting symptoms as the narrator. To Charlie's mind, putting flowers on the mouse's grave indicates Algernon—whom others might see as unimportant—has mattered a great deal to him and will be remembered. Charlie, unwanted and uncared for through much of his life, identifies with the mouse and desperately wishes to matter and be remembered, too.


This study guide and infographic for Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents, Q&A pairs, and flashcards created by students and educators.

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